With the 2008 presidential election looming, two SUNY Oswego students are presenting the leading contenders’ positions on important issues to students through an online forum (www.oswego.edu/2008forum).
Tim Farnsworth and Andre Fields, both active in campus and community politics, will convey the positions of Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, respectively. Their first weekly installments tackled the economy and health care, with other potential topics to include energy, the environment and foreign policy.
An online forum installment explaining the positions of third-party candidates is also planned.
Farnsworth and Fields see this as an opportunity to inform college students, whose needs are not always addressed by the candidates, and to cut through the media haze to provide facts on where the top candidates stand on issues.
Members of the SUNY Oswego community can weigh in on the issues, via moderated comments at the end of the students’ entries and through weekly polls.
Fields, who is in his second year as Student Association vice president, developed his interest in politics quite accidentally. Before his junior year of high school, he tore ligaments in his ankle and knew he would have to miss the upcoming football season.
“Suddenly, I had nothing else to do,” recalled Fields, a senior political science major with a public policy administration minor. “I had one history teacher who got me interested in politics and history. We’d have long talks, and I’d go home looking for more information.”
The teacher convinced him to run for office, and Fields ended up winning. He served as class president his junior and senior years of high school. He was a student senator for Cayuga Hall his first two years before earning the SA vice presidency.
“I stay informed on all the issues and a lot of people ask me questions” about the political scene, Fields said, so the forum allows him to communicate to a wider audience.
Farnsworth grew up in a military family, to which he attributes his interest in politics. But it wasn’t until he returned to college at the age of 24 that he really became serious about it. “Each new year since, I’ve become more interested,” said Farnsworth, a double major in political science and global and international studies with a minor in public policy administration.
He started as a student senator for Mackin Hall, and last year was chief of staff for SA President Josh Miller. This year, his involvement includes membership in the college’s Civic Engagement Coalition, and he traveled to the Republican National Convention through the Washington Center’s Presidential Seminar program.
Farnsworth hosts a political talk radio show at 6 p.m. Thursdays on college radio station WNYO 88.9 FM with regular contributors and guests including Oswego professors. His show is hosting both competitors for the 48th State Senate district: incumbent Democrat Darrel Aubertine on Oct. 16 and Republican challenger Dave Renzi on Oct. 30.